The Good News and Bad News About Abortion
The recent decision by the State of New York to pass an “abortion-until-birth” law has refueled our public abortion debate. But rather than focus on the specifics of that abhorrent new law, perhaps this is a good time to back up and look at the bigger fight against abortion.
There’s both good news and bad news in the ongoing fight against abortion.
Before I give you the good-and-the-bad, let me state my position succinctly. I believe that human life is created in the image of God, beginning at conception. As believers in God, we are called to protect human life whenever possible, including the unborn. Once conception occurs, there is an independent human life that warrants our love and our protection.
I understand the standard pro-choice arguments. Obviously, I know that pregnancy impacts a female more than a male. Many, therefore, see abortion as fundamentally a women’s right issue, but this ignores the fact that there is another life involved. I also know that pregnancy is risky and that sometimes the life of the mother is at risk. (My short answer is to save both lives when possible. In the very few cases where that’s not possible, tough decisions must be made.) I know that there are highly traumatic cases such as rape, and the easy answer—but not the right one—is to abort.
As human beings (and especially as believers), we must do everything we can to protect, nurture, and love all human life.
And the baby.
With that premise stated, let me give you the good news and the bad news about abortion.
The good news is that the number of abortions in the United States of America has decreased dramatically since we hit a peak of well over 1.5 million abortions in 1990. Not all states report abortions, so it’s hard to get exact numbers, but both pro-choice and anti-abortionists agree that abortions have dropped by about 50%, despite the fact that laws, public opinion, and drugs have made it easier to get an abortion. We can celebrate the fact that we’re making progress.
The bad news is that current political and demographic trends indicate that widespread support for abortion rights may well increase in the future. It’s hard to pin down firm statistics on such a hotly-debated topic, but from 57-66% of Americans support keeping abortion legal. Those numbers are even higher among teens and young adults. Unless there is a major shift in public opinion on this issue, abortion will be supported by an increasingly larger number of Americans.
So what can those of us who are opposed to abortion do?
Fight abortion first on a personal level rather than just a political level. We must continue to lovingly teach, preach, and share our belief in the uniqueness of human life. We may-or-may-not be able to change our laws, but we can influence and help those young ladies in our families, our neighborhoods, and our churches.
Offer real love—and not just a sermon—to those who are contemplating abortion. They need to know that a family, a friend, or a church will stand by them and help them do what is right, whether that includes keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption.
Offer real love rather than judgment to those who have become pregnant outside-of-marriage. The belief that “I’m going to be hated and judged in my family and my church” has led many young ladies to turn to those outside of the church for comfort and advice. It’s no surprise that they will often be counseled to get an abortion when they seek advice outside of their family and church.
Make sure that birth control is widely and easily available. I know this is controversial among some groups (such as Roman Catholics.) I’d much rather a young lady and a young man wait until marriage to consummate their relationship and I will continue to teach, preach, and encourage this lifestyle, but our culture has become so sex-crazed and sexuality is so public, that this is no longer the norm. Limiting the number of pregnancies via birth control will limit the number of abortions.
Support laws and organizations that promote adoption and make it easier and cheaper for babies to be adopted. The adoption of a baby is a healthy abortion alternative, but private adoptions typically cost from $25,000 – $50,000 and take a great deal of time. More babies could be adopted (and kept out of the foster care system) if it were easier, faster, and cheaper. The longer a child is in the foster system, the less likely it will be adopted.
Support Pregnancy Centers and clinics (with your finances, volunteer hours, and prayers) that offer abortion alternatives and that help young mothers cope with their pregnancies. Providing love, medical care, parenting classes, material assistance, and adoption-help go a long way to give pregnant teens and young adults the confidence and skills they need to cope with a pregnancy and the decisions that follow that pregnancy.
Pray for a spiritual and moral awakening in America. If American hearts are changed and we once again value all human life then abortions will decrease even without the need for laws or court decisions.
And lastly, support laws and politicians that agree with us on this issue. I put it last because I believe that abortion is more a moral and spiritual issue than a political one. Furthermore, laws against abortion may not do much to lower abortion rates. Many people (rightfully, I’m afraid) believe that restricting abortion rights may cause a huge increase in unsafe and unhealthy “underground” abortions. We can accomplish more through prayer, teaching, and love than we can by legislative or judicial action. Still, though, I still seek leaders with the character and courage to stand up for the unborn.
There’s good news on abortion, and we can celebrate that fact. There’s also bad news on abortion, which reminds us that we have much work still to do. Keep praying. Keep loving. Keep teaching. Keep writing. And keep preaching.
We have a long way to go before we change the hearts and attitudes of Americans.
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